The Frederick Citizen - Commentary and Thoughts and Curmudgeon by Contemporary Writers of Insightful Liberality!

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Jack Lynch, Editor


A Visit to Tangier Island

Historic Snowfall, Road Salt, Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Bay

Will It be Progress or Retrenchment in Frederick County?

Is This the End of Frederick Smart Growth?

A Rememebrance: Beijing Spring, Interrupted

County Officials and Public Communications

The Snallygaster in Frederick County

Fourth Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Frederick City Growth

American Promised Land - American All

Black Frederick and Matters of Race and Politics

Dumping on the Chesapeake Bay

Common Sense Writ Large

The Next Mayor of Frederick

Democracy in Action!

Ottawa: About a Greenbelt, Transit Oriented Development and Government Fiat

Countering Alderman Imhoff's Growth Beliefs

An Alternate View of Frederick City

Growth Policy

An Acorn in the Bucket

Monocacy River Part II

Monocacy River Part I

New Market Regional Plan Affirmation

43 More!

Fish and Life

Talking Trash

Strike Three, Smoking Out!

A Green Fund Too Far, Or Not Far Enough?

Growth Back to the Future

Revisiting an Iraq War Opinion Four Years Later

Second Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Unrepentant Cady

Sour Grapes and Fine Wine

There's Hope for Good Government

The Democratic Fifth

The County of Feel Good

Hypocrisy Indeed

The Alliance

The Growth Machine Slate

"The Issues are Bipartisan" - David Gray

The Importance of Jan Gardner's Campaign

Form Follows Function

Route 15 Scenic Walmart

Frederick Blue

The Curtain Rises

Housing Growth, Not Smart Growth, Not Progressive Planning

Understanding Lennie Thompson

Frederick's Tale of Two Rabbi's

Wellhead Protection

Make Believe, or Desperate Duncan?

A Progressive Concept Approved...then Defeated!

Hog Wild

Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

We're No Gwinnett County

"An Election, Not a Selection...!"  Indeed!

A Potpourri of Thoughts and Issues...

Now That the Smoke Has Cleared


How am I to Decide on Mayor of Frederick?

Doomed To Repeat It

Frantic Orthodoxy

Stealth Candidate

Another Perfect Day for Bananafish

This Summer Election

Building Issues

Just Powers

Death Defying Election?

In the Heat

Horse Sense for Frederick County?

Kudzu and Million Dollar Homes

Bartlett's Ozone Trip

Let the Games Begin

Blood in the Water

Coffee Klatch

Archaeology in Frederick

Bizarro World

Mr. O'Malley's March

Playing All the Cards

Who are Your Friends New Market?

Mixed Use

Beijing Spring, Interrupted

Passion, People and Politics in Frederick City

Millennium project

A Frederick Leader of Distinction

APFO Under Attack

State Lands Sale

Frederick Water Sourcing

Frederick Water

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People vs. Croswell

Serving the Frederick, Maryland Community Proudly!

 Jack Lynch, Editor
Note: Commentary and viewpoints on this website are copyrighted for this sole use, and are ultimately the property of the writers themselves O Under Attack

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November 3, 2010


The Tragedy of Kai Hagen

At the apex of the battle, Shakespeare’s Richard III cries out, “A horse!  A horse!  My kingdom…for a horse!”  Not unlike our own Kai Hagen, wunderkind of environment causes, one man waste management leader, having ridden the moderate coattails of Jan Gardner to office – and now deposed king of forty acres of mountaintop near Thurmont.

In a way he returns to his place prior to running for office, unemployed and activist, but without the one trick pony of a mock advocacy organization that was never more than a couple hundred names and raised no more than $5,000 in eighteen months.  Not to say that compared to most other local efforts, he was not a powerhouse to be admired in his act of self creation.

That of course came about after his famous meltdown with the nascent Friends of Frederick County where his assistance in bringing together a good group of like minded folks to form a board and organization, fell victim to his interest in defining a job for himself as its executive with a salary. 

He in fact nearly destroyed the group before it formed, as several early board members quit in disgust at his actions, long pleading phone calls, chiding emails, attempts to rally support and inspire faith in contracting him to a position and salary.

Long before he ran for office, I sat on his steps and suggested he might be thinking forward to running in the county – he professed uncertainty at that point, saying his personal and family situation were too open to criticism, his causes too liberal.  Yet he had a sincere and deep commitment to bringing more progressive legislation to protect our waterways and water supply, to recycling as a lifestyle, and to protecting open space and farmland.

As an outsider with a support base of activated folks from two organizations and a bipartisan slate on growth issues, Hagen became the golden boy, he had a position to run as a different sort of candidate, which some last liken back to Ron Sundergill in the county.  Hagen was symbolic of new thinking that had never had a focal person to deliver elective results.  The enviro-liberal crowd finally had somewhere to go that was not a mere leftover or compromise on their way of thinking.

Progressive folks lived with Kai once elected because they had no other resource, but any liberal candidacy is a stretch in Frederick County, and must constantly compromise and burnish whatever moderate credentials it can muster, Kai did not do so.  His union boy in the City of Frederick election, Jason Judd, proved a total dud for much the same reasons, and even failed to stand up for the issue of opposing the impacts of the northern annexations.

This is all part of a much larger problem for the local Democratic party, and its lightweight apparatus, and its failure to engage a progressive business community and to raise funds.  Many who hope for a partisan strength have been disappointed for a long time, and have held back from engaging in a campaign against the folks whose volunteer election to party offices have yielded little for all their good intentions and lack of effort or success.

A second early warning sign on Hagen came during his campaign when he established a bit of a personal relationship with a local land use attorney and confessed he was engaging with others, not that an accommodation with those interests was unwarranted or unnecessary as an officeholder, but because that initiated a long horrendous process of developing the DRRA for Lake Linganore development, as assault on the commitment to the revision of the New Market Regional Plan, and about fifty hours of tortuous meetings of a committee that drafted a development proposal outside the discussion of the rest of the board.

While it was easy to see Hagen’s failure in the waste sphere, the blind adherence to absolute concepts on waste that were unworkable in current practice, the faith in magical solutions, the failure to engage on real compromises such as landfill needs – all portended ultimate doom.  Even the ace card of cost was misplayed, and the advocates failed to make the case.  If he had limited his blind allegiance to extremes, he might’ve been able to deal a better hand, on outcomes, site location, etc., etc., etcetera.  Instead, he loses all.

It was said to be Hagen’s idea to launch a development freeze while revising the Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations, and that was really the point at which the knives came out for the Gardner board with the development and business money – even supporters like myself were stunned by the announcement and the shock wave went through the hearing room, which after a moment of silence, descended in murmurs of revenge and ouster.  For the old powers of the county, they had gone too far!

What does the future hold for Democrats and liberals in Frederick County, it can be an eventual resurgence, but it can only come from a more moderate and common man stance.  There was much good in the causes, but the perversion of purpose to demagoguery and perception of obstructionism have yielded this bitter fruit, for Hagen, and for us all.  There remains little to feel sorry for, little to preserve or recover in the man himself, but a lesson to be learned by any future liberal voice in county affairs.

Today our concern and efforts must be placed in holding in place the progressive policy and regulations that defined the outgoing board, while our retrenched county deals with the weight of the limping economy, and we look for leadership that brings us back together and finds a middle ground, using common sense and remains flexible along with its good intent.

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Check Out a lively and progressive Frederick political blog : Air It Out with George. I've recently begun posting blogs there

Chesapeake Blues on Tangier Island

July 4, 2008

Mass Burn

Appalachian Blues on Hillbilly Highway

Buying a Congressional Seat in Maryland's First District - Coming to the Sixth District?

Democratic Candidates on American Foreign Policy

All the King's Horses!

Campaign in Song: Bushie Head Out the Mixing Bowl

Democratic Campaign's Vertical Treadmill on Space Mission

A Bit of Olympic Political History

Obama for the Chesapeake Bay?

Politics is Personal: Repeat Three Times

Prediction: Bad News for Obama, The End of Post-Racial Politics

American Exceptionalism on the World Stage

Obama Speaking on March 18th - Political Equinox

Yee Haw! On to Pennsyltuckey!

American Blackface: Tragic Octoroon

Key to Success - Lesson for Frederick:

Republicrats Yes, Middlecrats No

Too Many Promises ...Loaves and Fishes

Identity Black and White in Frederick

Mashup 1968 - 2008: On to Texas, Out with Clinton?

Fat Tuesday!

Symbol, Sense and Substance

Eight More Years

The Dollar Bubble

Judging a Candidate By Their Website

Baby, We Were Born to Bun!